This is the second part of my assignment for my MA in Online Journalism. In the first part I explained how I was determined to graphically represent my data but as I read through Birmingham Cyclist Blog’s noticeboard I felt I was losing contact with the community and the story.
If you’re a Hashbrum subscriber, or are a regular reader of this blog you may have noticed a recent obsession with cycling. The reason for this is it formed part of my MA Online Journalism Newsgathering Experimental assignment. Here it is, split into three parts.
I post this morning about my noisy neighbours. Well encouraged by some of your comments me and the wife went round. I edited the audio as it was windy and got a bit boring and repetitive.[audio: http://dandavies23.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/noisyneighbourchat5mins.mp3]
It’s 7am now and I’m moving slowly into an acceptable time to be awake… however again this morning I’ve been woken up by my noisy neighbour. This is the seventh time in three weeks since she moved in and it’s driving me mad.
To hear me speaking about it in a frayed, rambling and borderline delirious manner click on the below boo.
I realise I’m not doing you any favours by revealing her identity but here are some facts:
- She is in her mid-twenties
- She is from Southmead in Bristol
- She clatters around the house all times of the day, and plays her rubbish local radio too loud
- She has a brutish boyfriend who she doesn’t get on well with
- She laughs like a drain
- I know I’m not in the best position to talk, but she clearly has no job
- She appears to be an alcoholic
- Her night time moods swing from partytime to argument to shouting that she doesn’t ‘Give a fuck’ at the top of her lungs
- Her unacceptable hours are between midnight and 5:50am in the morning
As I explained in my boo, I’m looking for ways to resolve this. I’ve tried going round twice and being reasonable. I’ve written a letter and thrown it away and I’ve told my landlord.
Where do I go next?
Yesterday morning my wife’s 3g iPhone arrived and it stirred mixed feelings in me.
Like my strange mongrel approach to music, I don’t side with either camp in a cod Mitchell-and-Webb-style. As a journalist who surfed the ‘desktop publishing revolution’ I’ve worked with both. And both have annoyed me.
My wife bought a G4 laptop last year, it was a nice bit of kit but its expense made me (and the wife) worry about taking it out and about, so I went for a Dell netbook. I was late getting an iPod, choosing instead to get more phone memory and put everything on my Sony Ericsson.
It was only when we were flying back from San Francisco after “The Drive Of Your Life” that I succumbed and got two – from a vending machine in the airport!
So, two weeks ago Vodafone offered me a HTC Tattoo, a nifty little Android which I’m really enjoying. This is my first blog from it.
On Thursday Jules drops the iPhone bomb. I can’t deny it is a thing of ‘ubiquitous’ beauty and plenty of people have pored over this fact.
However, my Android has plenty of advantages – not least its easy integration with all things Google. It fits really nicely in my hand and feels sturdier. I won’t worry about damaging it.
So Jules suffixed her iPhone delight with “you can buy an iPad if you like”.
Maybe I’ll hold out for the Mag+ which looks much more durable and hopefully a touch cheaper.
As visitors to the HashBrum site might know I’ve been working on this map for a while now.
My FOI Request of cycling accidents and their locations came through and I was able to put the details straight into Mapalist. I exported as KML and re-imported but for some reason the details about the pins didn’t copy.
So, even though these pins look a bit untidy in the larger map, they nevertheless should help cyclists take more care in accident areas.
The key is on the larger map but the general gist is:
Blue hued pin = cycle incident
Pink hued pin = cycle hazard
Primary colour = fatal accident
View Birmingham Cyclist Map in a larger map
Through an RSS from FixMyStreet I’ve been tracking potholes that have been reported to Birmingham City Council and also pinpointing any potholes mentioned on the Council’s Twitterstream. I will also be tracking my own cycle journeys and keeping an eye on any other hazards I see.
If you would like to add any hazards please feel free.
Robin PC contacted me through Help Me Investigate. Robin suggested I shouldn’t just look at mapping data. He commented ‘The safe way to cycle is to “get in the way”’. I put Robin’s advice to the test, see how I got on:
I went to Sprocket Cycles, off Allison St Digbeth where Gordon quick-fitted a new bike chain in 3 minutes.
I also grabbed a short audio interview with Gordon talked about cycling safety, National ‘Bike’ Service and just what is the correct kerb distance?
I decided it was about time to get out there and start tracking my own cycle routes. On the map below you can see my latest track. Click on the Recent Tracks tab and you can scroll through all my journeys as I wheel about, gathering cycle interviews and other usual daily Hashbrum business!
If you click through to Details beside each track, you can see I’ve written a short piece on each journey in my Notes section. These act as a summing up of my journey including any safety concerns I see. If you’d like to add your routes and comment on your experiences (and you have an Android or Smartphone) then this App should cost around £5.99. Once you’ve got it if you could let me know below and befriend me.
I’m also hoping to export this data and it will inform my next map based on experiences of people road cycling in Birmingham.
Find out about my first cyclemap here.
Online News Association kicked off their 2010 monthly meet-ups by inviting renowned blogger Paul Staines (aka Guido Fawkes) to add his own incendiary opinion on social media, real time and data driven journalism of the future.
It was one of the best journalism discussions I had been to in a while. You can replay the liveblog below and or compare perspectives (it’s the future!) with @brian_condon.